FTP decreasing with TR plan builder

Hello everyone,

I have been a user of TR in 2017/2018, quit it due to me deciding that structured training is no fun, and after talking to some friends who never done any structured training and having FTP of 400+ watts, and most importantly winning races Pro 1/2 level, I’ve decided to do the same thing.

Last summer/fall my FTP was 310 watts and I was 74kg, which puts me around 4.1 w/kg. I ride between 15 - 20h a week. As winter came around, I’ve decided to jump back onto TR and my goal for 2021 is to push my FTP to the 350+ range. In December I did my first Ramp test which gave me an FTP of 244 watts. It was a bit demoralizing, but I decided to roll with it and see what happens in 5-6 weeks.

I am using plan builder that is focusing me on my A, B, and C events for the upcoming season. I followed the training to the T, and yesterday I tested 232 watts. I was pissed, I felt like I was pedaling in squares towards the mid 200s to low 300 watts, 310 watts I was not even able to spin anymore.

I am just getting really confused with what is going on, is there a possibility that some of us are just not meant to do structured training and we are better off with just hammering every day and riding 20h a week and that is how we get better? Or there is an issue with the Ramp test and TR in general?

Very Respectfully,
Marko

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It might help if you can tell us about your indoor and outdoor setups, to look for any notable differences:

  • Trainer?
  • Bike (same as outside or different)?
  • Method(s) of power measurement (inside same as outside?)
  • Room temp, humidity, etc. and any cooling fans or air conditioning?
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You said your FTP WAS 310, not IS 310. Did you take a an extended break? You also said you ride 15-20 hrs per week. Are you still riding that much? Or has the volume dropped?

Starting structured training and seeing an FTP drop suggests to me that you have dramatically dropped your volume relative to what got you that FTP in the first place. I’m just speculating.

But yea…going from 20 hrs a week down to a mid volume plan is probably not going to raise your FTP, I would guess.

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Hi Chad,

I use Wahoo Kickr v5. Just got it for Christmas. I use the same bike inside and out, I have Spesh S works Tarmac, and for PM I use Assiooma Duo, I use it both for indoor and outdoor workouts.

When it comes to room temp and environment, I use a small home depot fan, an industrial one, but I keep my room pretty cold, currently, I am staying in the hotel room due to my job (I work for the government) and while I ride I keep AC around 65 degrees. It does get toasty in the room after a while.

What I have noticed is yesterday when I tried to do the Ramp Test, I was literally pedaling in squares, resistance was very high. Sometimes the same thing happens when I do regular workouts, in between the intervals, my resistance does not go all the way down. When I do interval training, I keep my cadence between 90 - 95, that is what feels normal to me, and that is how I ride outside as well, I am a spinner. I am thinking to continue following the plan, and once the next Ramp test comes, I will do it either using Zwift or actually do 20 min FTP test.

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It was 310, I did not take an extended break, and I still ride around 15hrs a week on avg. I am following high volume plan, but I still commute to work on my road bike. I just love riding, and I try to ride a lot.

Just 2 weeks ago, I was riding with some friends and was challenged to go for 5 min KOM, I easily held 370 watts for nearly 5 min. That tells me i can still do some power, I just can’t accept 232 watts as my current FTP.

It sounds like it is a power meter issue of some sort then. If I understand correctly, you are using your power meter pedals to control the trainer?

Yes I do. Well i am using same PM with Zwift rides, outdoors and I am having no issues. I even added my pedals to the SRM PM and measured power output and got the same number. As I said, in the original post, its either TR structure is slowing me down, or I am having issues with how TR is talking to my trainer. I will disable PM this week and strictly use Kickr and see how it goes.

Are your trainer power values, and power meter power values the same(ish…)?

The only thing I can guess is that your power meter is somehow @#%ing up the trainer or trainerroads data…or you’re just really bad at ramps tests/quit way too early. But if you held 370 watts for a stretch outdoors, that seems unlikely…

Hard to believe that you can hold 370W for 5 min and that could only manage 308w for the last minute of the ramp test. Something is wrong here

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Something is wrong with TR that is for sure.

Just for reference: I reached my max 5 min pwr on the ramp test. FTP is roughly 80% of that. If you take 5 min @370W that would correspond to an ftp of almost 300. The 5 min must be the last part of the RT so there were a few min of hard riding preceding that, but still 232 sounds really low…

I think something is wrong with your numbers. TR calculates FTP by taking 75% of the average power during the last minute of the ramp test. To get a FTP of 232 the last minute is 309W

If you can do 370 for 5 minutes then you can probably do 309 for about an hour. My best 5minute power was also 370W and I ramp tested at 303W and did 309W for 47:54 all within a 60 day period

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Sounds very odd.

I don’t think some people are not meant for structured training - in fact the opposite is probably true - most people need structure to become fast. But it’s just that generic plans doesn’t work for all people.

Riding 15-20 hours a week means you have to be fairly strict about your intensity distribution. Easy to overshoot the amount of intensity work you need. I guess at that volume you must be training fairly polarized?

Still I find it difficult to believe you would have such a decline in performance unless you were feeling really hammered from the training (i.e. too much intensity / too little recovery). This does not seem to be the case?

I would assume some calibration issue?

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Sounds like a software or equipment failure. Try to do a workout outdoor and see what happens. Maybe your kickr is broken, maybe power match is messed up, maybe you think you use your power from your pedals.

The difference is too big to assign to cooling, which seems quite ok

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My ramp tests FTPs decreased also in line with the plan. I was getting fitter and faster though, then I realised the ramp test didn’t suit me and I switched to a 20mins test and got much better results. Ramp tests seem to suit the majority however for a significant minority they don’t work. Try another test protocol, 8mins, 20mins or Kolie Moore and if that feels better stick with it :+1:

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That’s what I am thinking like calibration issues, but kickr V5 does not need to be calibrated, also i been riding this much for the past decade. I am just a well-seasoned cyclist. I jumped on Forum to see if someone else had similar issues. It is just crazy that I am losing power, or doing something wrong that makes me feel like losing power.

Do you know what gearing you did your ramp test in?

  • Did you test in ERG or Resistance?

Have the workouts based on the low FTP felt appropriate to the expected effort levels?

  • Did you train in ERG or Resistance (similar gearing to testing)?
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HLaB,

Thank you for your reply, this is something i wanted to hear. Most replies I got came across as I am lying or doing something wrong. It is the same thing with bike stores when you take the bike in and say, you did something wrong not bike has issues.

I have been riding bikes for years, I am 30 years old, I just did not suddenly get weaker by 100 watts. I believe either I am having issues with the equipment or the Ramp test just does not suit me. I will try different tests and see how it goes. I appreciate your reply and I will stick with TR.

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It’s entirely possible that you have the same or more power, but due to a range of factors, your “apparent FTP” inside on the trainer seems “lower”. So you may be fine, but comparing numbers that are misaligned for some reason.

That’s been part of the consideration behind my questions, looking for some variable(s) that may be artificially deflating your values inside, despite being just fine outside.

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Chad,

So i just finished my workout Bays + 1, I do all my workouts in ERG mode, never tried resistance. Today workout was using low FTP that was tested yesterday, felt easy, my HR at Zone 2 (171 watts) was between 125-130 it felt like cruising.

I did notice that 250 watts in Zwift and 250 watts in TR feels very different.

Gearing wise, I do small chainring up front 36 and in the rear i use 16t cog. I believe one of the TR guys Chad or Nate mentioned that it is better for Ramp test to keep in in low gear.

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